I was pretty gutted to see the Muslim ban last week announced by President Trump. It all happened so quickly and whilst it’s now limited to 7 countries, it’s pretty dire to see what’s been going on at airports. There’s been reports of visas being revoked from legitimate citizens, babies being denied entry for heart surgery and kids being separated from parents whilst they’re all questioned. The executive orders are being slammed out hard and fast, we barely have time to react but ultimately it’s all a bit depressing. I was driving home a few days ago when I heard the phone in that day was asking “How “Muslim” had become such a dirty word?”. How depressing. Urgh. Suffice to say I’m pretty sure we won’t be going to New York this year. I know it doesn’t technically affect Brits, but it doesn’t feel too comfortable right now taking a risk for a holiday just to be stopped for hours at an American airport.
Then I realised something. For all the utter crap that’s going on, there are some amazing things that have come out of the Muslim ban and they’ve been quite heart warming. They’ve shown some of the heroes of our world and how selflessly people will help those in need.
Here’s just 6 amazing things that have come out of the Muslim ban…
1. Volunteer lawyers giving up their time to help those in need.
The immediacy of the “Muslim ban” being invoked meant thousands of passengers were stranded at airports very suddenly and not able to go anywhere. Some legal citizens were forced to give up their visas and some turned away and put back onto planes. A large number of lawyers spent hours on the floor on their laptops filing petitions for detainees. We’re often so used to seeing the more sensational and corrupt side to the American legal system, it was an amazing sight to see so many selflessly help people in their own time and showed the true meaning of fighting for justice.
2. ACLU winning a temporary stay for those already at airport.
The American civil liberties union is a non profit organisation that won a temporary block on Trumps Muslim ban. They worked through the night to get it done and rely on public donations in some cases to keep going. It meant hundreds managed to go home.
3. People protesting outside airports and across America.
Hundreds of ordinary people from all walks of life gathered at airports to protest peacefully at the ban. Again, due to the timing most stood on into the night and kept coming back day after day. These protests are still going on and people are still standing. There is even a website set up to feed these people pizza so that they don’t go hungry. Obviously I think this even more wonderful as it involves food.
4. People protesting in the U.K.
…Everywhere from London to Manchester to Scotland and at lots of places in between. There were a whole host of banners held up, mostly polite and so many laugh out loud hilarious. I think we do protests so well. I won’t share my favourite sign as it’s very sweary but I laughed a lot when I first saw it. Here’s lovely Jane from Hodge Podge at the Manchester protest.
5. People raising over £6k to get Hamaseh Tayari back home to Glasgow.
Hamaseh holds an Iranian passport and became stranded when she wasn’t allowed to fly through New York to get back to Glasgow. Buying an alternative travel ticket would mean an extra £2.5k she couldn’t afford. A Go fund me account was quickly set up and raised over £6k. She got back home safe and sound and remainer of the funds were donated to the Scottish refugee council.
6. Social media accounts like Teen Vogue speaking out against injustice.
Not strictly from the travel ban order but the Teen Vogue twitter account has quickly become super informative when it comes to all things Trump presidency. They are actively involved in spreading awareness around current affairs and very vocal in denouncing things like the “Muslim ban”. They are so much more than a fashion advice account and it’s impressive to watch them in action.
There are so many more accounts like this right now and you only have to glance at one of the many social platforms to see the huge explosion of information being blatted out at lightning speed. It’s a bit worrying that this kind of activism is needed right now, but sadly it is.
I’m in no way naive and agree that there will be cases where immigration bans are much needed. What I don’t agree with is the illogical way this particular executive order has been put in place and the impact it’s had on every day normal citizens, even those that reside within the States.
The travel ban saga rumbles on for now with President Trump about to appeal the current ban put in place by Judge Robart. It feels like more turbulent times are yet to come but I think if the last two weeks have shown us anything it’s that, for every dubious looking executive order, there is a whole crowd ready to protect those that need it.
The mayor of New York gave an amazing speech about protecting his people and his New York. There have been so many speeches made like this by figure of authority and it’s both humbling and comforting to see and I hope it restores a huge sense of security to those feeling very vulnerable right now. You can watch what he said here.